Breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Deciding what's best for you and your baby

(33 ratings)
Breast feeding or bottle feeding
The decision to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby is completely unique to you, and should be based on however you feel most comfortable.

It's generally recognised that breast milk is better for a newborn baby due to the nutritious value and strength building benefits that support your baby's immune system in a way that formula milk can't, and The Department of Health advise mums to breastfeed for at least the first six months of your baby's life.

However, many mums aren't physically able to breastfeed, whilst for others breastfeeding isn't an option for reasons beyond their control.

If you are deciding whether to breastfeed or bottle feed, there are lots of factors to weigh up. But, when deciding what's best for you and your baby, consider the pros and cons and be sure to talk through your plans and get advice from your health visitor as well.


Pros of breastfeeding

  • Your breast milk contains the perfect amount of nutrition and hydration to build your baby's immune system which contributes towards fending off illness and making them as strong as possible
  • Breast milk is free! Considering how expensive baby's are, this is a huge win in the finance department as they drink A LOT of milk
  • Breast milk is readily available whenever your baby needs it, which means no carrying bottles or sterilising equipment around with you
  • It's a chance to bond with your baby and get to know them, spending special quality time with them

  • Cons of breastfeeding

  • It can make some mothers uncomfortable and they dislike doing it, especially in public
  • Your breasts can become engorged, swollen and generally painful - which is never fun!
  • Your nipples are set to get a lot more attention than normal and can begin to crack or bleed which can be quite painful

  • Bottle feeding

    Pros of bottle feeding

  • If your breasts are in pain or you have developed mastitis, bottle feeding will be a welcome relief. It's more important to be a happy, healthy mum than to force yourself to do something you find painful
  • You can share feeding duties - yay! No longer is the pressure all on you, your partner or family are just as capable of feeding your baby, which means you can get some rest!
  • You can measure exactly how much milk your baby is drinking every day. If they're draining each bottle and still crying for more it could mean they're going through a growth spurt or if they don't drink their usual amount they may be feeling poorly
  • You can now buy ready-made formula milk, microwave sterilisers and a huge number of anti-colic teats and bottles all designed to make bottle feeding a quicker, easier and happier experience for both of you

  • Cons of bottle feeding

  • Unfortunately the truth is formula just doesn't have the same nutritional benefits as breast milk for your baby, your breast milk is designed especially to give your little one the best start in life
  • Formula is expensive and with so much to buy for your baby already it feels like a shame to not use the free resources that you have
  • A lot of preparation goes into making up a bottle for your baby. It can cause an added strain on your already newly hectic lifestyle because of the hassle it takes to organise the equipment, sterilise, prepare and carry around the bottles

  • Continued below...

    Did you breastfeed or bottle feed? What sort of experience did you have? Let us know in the comments below!

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    Andrea McKee

    i just had a baby 2 days ago and im breastfeeding, however he is a nipple suckers and doesnt take the boob into the mouth to feed properly. Im not going to stop trying. The whole public think, i would pump the boob into a bottle and feed him like that. In public you dont have to get your boobs out to give your baby breast milk.

    Angela Dixon

    What about us mothers who have been advised NOT to breastfeed? I am on medication which can be harmful to baby so I dont have a choice?! People look at me as a bad mother I hate getting the dreaded "bottle" out in public would much rather get the "boob" out! But in my opinion all these "supermums" who think they are doing what is best by breastfeeding you will soon see them pushing a 9 month old in a buggy with a packet of sweets in the hand!!! I think more harm is done to children with food after 6 months and not before!!!!

    Russell Poynter

    Breast is best and is the most natural. I fully understand the need for choice, the requirements for Mums to go back to work and the need for A-list privacy! But it does not detract from the most natural thing to do - milk supplied to baby by her mother - designed the way it is meant to work. I feel sorry for those who struggle with breast feeding and think it is a shame more Mums don't persevere. Also please note that comments about African Mums and what they look like shows however malnourished they are their milk is always perfect for their baby. Also more deaths happen in african countries from their babys being bottle-fed due to dirty water than they do from feeding on the breast. All I can say is don't feel guilty, don't be put off by what people say and just try - the first few days are the most important - after that do what is right for your personal situation.


    I think a lot of the reason why sucessful breastfeeding is uncommon in the UK is down to the society we live in. Women do not have the support they need with children and most of us just have to manage everything by ourselves, even if we have a partner they are at work. Children are seen as a lifestyle choice like accessories not as a vital part of society and therefore 'your child, your problem'. In other cultures the extended family is more involved, there is more community support and women do not have the pressure to maintain a 'lifestyle', go out to work and be back in a size 10 by the time the placenta hits the bin! We are also our own worst enemies with this issue we should be helping each other not judging people for not breastfeeding. And for those who say impoverished African mothers manage 1. They have no choice 2. they are hardly the picture of health and wellbeing are they?


    I breastfed each of mine for about 2 1/2 - 3 years (and yes, it was partly for me -loved the feeling and special moments) but it also reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity and improved speech development etc etc. They are now happy, healthy teenagers. I do support a mother's right to chose and not be damned for it - I was lucky to be able to afford a nanny who brought the baby to me when I worked to allow me to continue feeding - for others the mortgage has to be paid. There are very few physiological reasons a mother can't feed ('not being able to' isn't something African mothers find happens) but huge social and emotional reasons. I think it's a pity someone with the media clout Denise has didn't use the opportunity to enlighten and educate and help make public feeding more acceptable. However, she also has the right to chose and to her privacy.


    I think it is every mothers choice for there baby, i actually think it's quite weird that mothers breastfeed a child, when they are talking and walking and eating solids- there is no need for it then, and it's probably more for the mother than child....! but thats just my opinion :-)


    I breastfed my baby for nearly 6 months, I only stopped when I was returning to work. It is a personal choice if and for how long a Mum breastfeeds her baby. I felt proud that I was able to breastfeed my baby but certainly would not criticise a Mum for choosing bottle over breast.


    I had difficulties breast feeding my son and turned to the bottle (formula that is!) after 5 days. I cried for days because I thought I was failing- especially with all the press about "breast is best". My son is now a very healthy bruiser of a boy- I know how much he has fed which is very reassuring, he has not been ill, he is very happy, has slept through the night from 8 weeks and WE couldn't be happier. The bottle was definately the right choice for us.


    how selfish and stupid. breast milk is superior to bottle milk and no amount of 'but it's the mothers's choice nonsense' will win the argument of breast v bottle. WOmen who give up bfeeding because 'people took photos of me in starbucks' are in my opinion too stupid and selfish to be parents in the first place. the real reason is probably because she needs to be skinny and go back to work and can't be seen to do the natural thing because it's so not what the majority of celebraties do. makes me feel so sorry for these celeb babies - they really don't stand a chance of normality do they?


    if i could i would have breast fed i know it can really help your child but i hate it being constantly infered its wrong to bottle feed sometimes that is the only choice i do not think in anyway breast feeding in public is in anyway a problem and the more women who do it the more it will be accepted some of the sights i see walking about in my seaside home town during the summer they should cover up not the breast feeding mum

    Erica Swart

    Any mother has the choice of breastfeeding her baby or not. I breastfed my children for 3 and 6 months respectively and that was my choice. People should stop judging others and start minding their own business. Not breastfeeding does not make someone a bad mother.

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